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Locarno Festival to host first premiere of Nicolas Wadimoff’s Apollo of Gaza

Nicolas Wadimoff’s feature documentary The Apollo of Gaza, a National Film Board of Canada (NFB) co-production, will be having its world premiere at this year’s Locarno Festival.


Government Press Release 13 Jul 2018, 04:13 AM Canada
Locarno Festival to host first premiere of Nicolas Wadimoff’s Apollo of Gaza
  • The film is screening in the official competition at the 29th Semaine de la critique. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Nicolas Wadimoff’s feature documentary The Apollo of Gaza, a National Film Board of Canada (NFB) co-production, will be having its world premiere at this year’s Locarno Festival. Produced by Colette Loumède (NFB), Philippe Coeytaux (Akka Films), and the film is screening in the official competition at the 29th Semaine de la critique, which takes place August 3 to 10, 2018.

Wadimoff, whose Aisheen (Still Alive in Gaza) won an award at Berlin in 2010, and whose Jean Ziegler: The Optimism of Willpower competed at Locarno in 2016, will be attending the screening.

The Semaine de la critique is the festival’s prestigious indie section, organized by the Swiss Association of Film Journalists since 1990. Each year’s handpicked selection consists of seven extraordinary documentary films. The Apollo of Gaza, the sole Canadian co-production in the lineup, is in the running for two awards: the SRG SSR/Semaine de la Critique and Premio Zonta Club Locarno.

“For four years now, Akka Films and the NFB have worked together to support the remarkable work of Swiss filmmaker Nicolas Wadimoff, long appreciated by the Quebec documentary community. This first co-production between the NFB, Akka Films, and TSR is a fine example of international co-operation in the interests of a truly outstanding work. The Apollo of Gaza blends historical reflections, truth and lies to bring a moving tale of universal interest to viewers from all walks of life.” – Colette Loumède, Producer, NFB

“Nicolas Wadimoff delivers a superb film whose story couldn’t be more in sync with current events: the looting in Syria and Iraq, the destruction of major archaeological monuments and so on. How can a 2,500-year-old statue serve as such a flashpoint for the passions and disputes of the present? We tend to see the Gaza Strip as a place of war and destruction, overlooking its rich, complex history and archaeological wealth, sadly obscured by the violence that dominates everyday life.” – Philippe Coeytaux, Producer, Akka Films

The Apollo of Gaza by Nicolas Wadimoff (90 min)

  • In 2013, an ancient statue of Apollo was found in the waters off Gaza before disappearing under mysterious circumstances. Rumours soon begin to swirl... Playing out like a whodunnit, the documentary immerses us in the unknown realities of a land where life carries on in the face of seemingly interminable conflict. The statue brings a moment of light and beauty to Gaza, revealing a glorious history that helps restore the dignity of an entire people.

Swiss-born Nicolas Wadimoff is a writer, director, and producer. In 1990 he directed his first documentary, Le Bol, an official selection at the Locarno Festival. His first feature drama, the 1996 film Stowaways, was shot in Quebec and co-directed with Denis Chouinardand went on to win many awards on the international festival circuit. Wadimoff’s work spans made-for-TV films, documentaries (L’accordSpartans, and Jean Ziegler) and dramas such as Mondialito and Opération Libertad (a selection at Cannes in 2012) and attests to his engagement with social and political issues. His longstanding interest in the situation in Palestine can be seen in such early works the film Aisheen (Still Alive in Gaza), an award winner at Berlin in 2010, as well as in his collaborations with filmmakers in the region, working as an educator, director and producer. The Apollo of Gaza is his most recent film.